Thursday, November 16, 2006

Canadian Twist on Old Romero Archetype

From The Varsity Online:
The Vancouver New Wave will have people talking at this month's Cinematheque Ontario Lecture Series, presented by the Toronto International Film Festival Group. Also called Pacific New Wave, this movement consists of a group filmmakers, most of them at the forefront of the Canadian film industry, that formed in part to ensure the Western Canadian film scene will continue to thrive without the help of Hollywood. Presenting two films this month is Vancouver director Carl Bessai.

Severed, another political zombie film, will have its Toronto premiere on November 17, even though it was shot last year. While editing his previous art film, Emile, Bessai was introduced to the zombie genre by his editor, Julian Clarke. He was particularly inspired by the politically-motivated horror works of George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead). "He was mapping history and social action," says Bessai on the phone.

Looking at the political climate in his home town, Bessai decided to make his own zombie film about western political issues. Severed follows a group of environmental activists as they try to take on the logging industry.

Bessai says he set out to make a "populist movie that says something" about the logging industry and the complexity of the issues involved in both sides of the argument.

"Filmmaking is a responsibility. I wanted to say something about the place we live in and pump up our country's sense of film." He's quick to underline his belief that Severed wasn't made merely for the sake of making a zombie film. Bessai wanted to deal with interpersonal conflict. "There needs to be a balance of fun, camp and earnestness," he adds.


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